44 dead as Indonesia quake shakes Java island


Cianjur, Indonesia, Nov 21 (AFP/APP):A shallow 5.6-magnitude earthquake shook Indonesia’s main island Java on Monday, killing at least 44 people and injuring hundreds, local officials said, with buildings damaged and a landslide triggered.

The quake was centred in the Cianjur region of West Java, according to the United States Geological Survey, and was felt as far away as the capital of Jakarta, where panicked residents ran into the streets.

“There have been dozens of people killed. So far, 44 people have died,” Adam, a spokesman for the local administration in Cianjur town, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told AFP.

He said as many as thousands of houses could have been damaged in the quake. The local administration chief in the town worst hit by the tremor said most of the deaths were counted in one hospital alone, without providing a specific figure, with many others in surrounding villages still to be evacuated.

“The information I got for now, in this hospital alone, nearly 20 died and at least 300 people are being treated,” Herman Suherman told broadcaster Metro TV.

“Most of them had fractures from being trapped by the ruins of buildings.”

Shops, a hospital and an Islamic boarding school in the town were severely damaged by the quake, according to local media.

Broadcasters showed several buildings in Cianjur with their roofs collapsed and debris lining the streets.

Suherman said relatives of victims had congregated at the town’s Sayang hospital and warned the death toll could rise as villagers outside of the town may still be trapped.

“We are currently handling people who are in an emergency state in this hospital. The ambulances keep on coming from the villages to the hospital,” he said.

“There are many families in villages that have not been evacuated.”

The country’s disaster chief Suharyanto, who also goes by one name, said at least 14 people had died in the Cianjur area but said information was “still developing”.

Cianjur police chief Doni Hermawan told Metro TV authorities had rescued a woman and a baby from a landslide but a third person they found had died of their injuries.